By Harley Davis, Contributing Writer
The UMF Cheerleading Club is preparing to travel out of state for two competitions in March and working hard in the meantime on refining choreography and finding time for extra hours of practice despite recent snowstorms.
Large amounts of snow during the beginning of the semester have affected the team’s practice schedule. According to the president and coach of the cheerleading team, Kristin Cobleigh, “The team has been trying to get extra practice time in, but it has been hard due to the snow.”
Despite the weather, UMF Cheerleading has been meeting three times a week for practice, with practices averaging three hours long. “Lately we have been cleaning up and changing some minor things in the routine to get little extra points in various judging categories,” said Cobleigh. “We’ve also been trying to get team bonding in so that everyone’s spirits are up as we go to competition”
Compared to previous cheerleading teams at UMF, this year’s team has areas of strength that have not been seen in a team in past years. “A strength that this team has over teams in the past is their ability to learn and perform skills they have never done before college quickly and efficiently,” said Cobleigh. “This year many of our girls have a vast background of knowledge that helps the team work well together when presented with something that doesn’t work or look the best in the routine.”
According to Ashley Skinner, the only senior on this year’s cheerleading team, the team spirit with this group is better than that of previous years. “Our dynamic is one of the best I’ve ever been apart of,” Skinner said. “We are able to come to practice, stay focused, and work really hard, but we are all close friends so there is never a dull moment; someone is always laughing or joking around.”
While the competitions this year are out of state, the team is looking forward to their friends and family being able to watch them perform. “One of the best things about competitions is our families, friends and supporters,” said Cobleigh. ‘It’s a really cool thing to look out while on stage and see just a cluster of people all wearing UMF cheerleading T-shirts.
UMF Cheerleading will be participating in two competitions coming up in the month of March. “March 11th we are going to Syracuse, New York for the Salt City Beach Classic, and March 18th we are going to Warwick, Rhode Island for the Ocean State Beach Masters,” said Kaitlyn Polk, treasurer for the cheerleading team.
According to the ACDA website, the Salt City Beach Classic will open its doors at 10 a.m. and the competition will begin at 11a.m. Similarly, the Ocean State Beach Masters competition opens its doors at 12 p.m. and competition will begin at 1 p.m. Both events require an entry fee for spectators which must be paid in cash. For further information, see their respective websites.
“We want to represent UMF in the best way we can, so we have had no choice but to push ourselves at every single practice,” Skinner said. “We are ready for whatever this competition season is going to bring us.”